etwo: The Social Business Formula

equation formula
I recently did a search on the word social business using google and bing.  What did I find?  The first hit on both search engines was to a wiki page that defined social business as (just the first paragraph):
A social business is a non-loss, non-dividend company designed to address a social objective. The profits are used to expand the company’s reach and improve the product/service. This model has grown from the work of Muhammad Yunus and others.
hmm, not what I expected to find.   In fact, based on everything I have been reading recently in twitter and on blogs, it is completely different than what I would have expected.  As I read the many blog posts and tweets, the references to social business are typically associated with Social CRM, or SCRM, Social Media, and Enterprise 2.0.  In contrast Luis Suarez does a nice job of summarizing his view of what Social business mean in his recent blog post Enterprise 2.0 vs. Social Business – The Final 2.0 Transformation.  Social business is about ...
... not placing a specific focus on either technology, or processes, nor people, but, instead, we keep thriving to strike that balance between (social) tools, (social) business processes AND people.
Susan Scrupski, leader of the 2.0 Adoption council, provides more insight in one of her recent blog posts:
I caution all our members (2.0 Adoption members) to keep their eye on the bigger picture.  The Council is expanding to embrace all facets of social business.  Going forward, it will not be possible to separate where social media initiatives begin and e20 ends.  And, every customer will tell you they rarely use any jargon when they’re presenting business cases to their executives.  The language they use is rooted in the benefits of social collaboration, not the features.  This is typically different for every company too, and becoming more and more strategic.
I agree with both of these statement and in fact for a long time been done my job as an E2.0 enabler.  In addition to me following these ideals, I coach and teach my team that it is not about the technology, it is about the people that are using the technology, it is about how they do their job and how the technology can improve both of those (the people and the process).  In my mind, E2.0 is about improving efficiencies and was never about the technology.

So with that said, a recent tweet by by Greg Lowe caught my eye.  In short (can't find the original tweet) the tweet said "socbiz = E2.0 + SCRM + ...".   This got me thinking about what he was trying to get across.  Since I do not see E2.0 as a technology implementation, this definition made more sense to me.  Why?  Well, what I see is that Social Business is really about bringing all of the various types of social ideas, Social CRM, Enterprise 2.0, social media, social media marketing, social supply chain, social analytics together.  Social Business is the idea that the business can be more efficient, be more collaborative, improve communications, and find that expert, while enabling the businesses to be more connected, internally/externally, person to person / business to business, etc. 

My take on Social Business is that Social Business is bigger than any definition I have seen so far.  It includes everyone's definition I have read and combines them all together.  But to be really doing Social Business, you need to be doing at least 2 of the parts (doing them well) and integrating the ideals of those ideas together.  For example, if you do not integrate your E2.0 and social CRM together (in an appropriate way), then you are not doing social business.  You have not met the ideals of what social business is really all about.

And that is my 2 cents on what Social Business is really all about and where Social Business needs to get to in the future if it is not already there.

Power to the community

MMOs and communities
Stick with this post, there is a point to it, it just takes some time to get to it.

Over the past 7 - 10 years I have played Massively Multiplayer Online(MMO) games.  I have played Dark age of Camelot(DAoC), World of Warcraft, Warhammer, Lord of the Ring Online and host of other games for various periods of time.  The draw to play each of these games is to hang out with friends, make new friends, and relax.  The best and easiest way to obtain friends is to join a Guild, which provides you a set of people that are there to back you up and to help you out when help is needed. As you get to know these strangers over time, you get to know them as friends, with the chance opportunity to meet some of them in person, after only talking to them online via chat or Voice of IP.

Over the past year or so, my job has directed me to start working on bringing new technologies to help with collaboration, efficiency and communication.  The program my team works on is called Enterprise 2.0, an industry term which means bringing Social Media/Networking capabilities within the organization (internally focused).   As part of this program, I have had the pleasure of attending conferences and meeting people who are doing the very same thing in their companies.   One very important group of people that I have gotten to know is a set of Enterprise 2.0 advocates that are part of a community called the 2.0 Adoption Council.

As part of the 2.0 adoption council, I just saw a reaction with the same amount of concern and angst that I had seen several times in my days playing DAoC and have seen periodically over my time playing in other MMOs and in various guilds.  The interesting part is that while I have seen this type of reaction in other situations, I had not seen this type of reaction with the same amount of concern and angst.

The situation is that happened in the 2.0 Adoption Council was the announcement from one of its better known people that they were leaving the 2.0 Adoption Council because the person had decided that is was best to not be an active participant anymore.   The reaction from the Council was exactly the same reaction I have seen in online gaming.  Requests to ensure that squabbles external to the council do not distract.  People pointing out that the policies we use might be the reason person XYZ has left.  etc.

In both situations, when this occurs, the outcry is heard and then it is on the community to make a decision.  Do they rebound and make things better than they were before, or do the do nothing and fold.   Believe it or not, in most cases I have found that the community survives and becomes strong for it.  They work hard to correct the issues that have become real and work to make life better for the community.   This is what I am seeing in the 2.0 Adoption Council and I am proud that I am member.

Now I just have to get my act together to get myself more active to help make sure I do what I can to ensure the community does not fold.

Played MMOs and still do - current game is Lord of the Ring Online (LotRO). Having been part of the community for a while, I see many similarities between the two.    I find that the community feel is very similar.   There is the obvious leader  (GM in MMOs, Community Leader).  This job is a full time job that requires lots of attention.  the community needs alot of feed and care

IT is Evil

During the past E2.0 conference (San Francisco), I heard many statements to the effect that "IT is evil". As I sat with my colleagues, my bosses boss included, we had many good laughs about this comment. You see, I am an IT person. And you would think that I would think that IT is not evil. But you know what, IT can and is often evil. I am not sure evil is the right term though. I favor the term, ignorant more than Evil. And to be honest, I know my bosses boss would agree with this statement. But you should also know that all of the IT people that I know try their hardest to deliver their products. But often they fall short or do it too slowly. They often build things that are complicated and don't make sense to the end user. But why is this? And what can be done to help fix the problem?

For me (and this is all my opinion, just another IT person), when I see projects implemented, I see IT not listening to the people that provide the "directions". They believe they know better. They talk "over" and "above" others. They often miss the simple points and try to understand the harder points with little success. But before I go to far and say it is all IT's fault, I have to come to my fellow IT folk's defense, and say that it is not all their fault. The road is a 2 way road, and while their are issues that come from IT, their are issues from the other side. The other side, believes they know better, they don't listen to critism and suggestions. they often miss the simple points from IT and don't understand the harder points.

So is the problem really that IT is evil or ignorant? No but It is (note the lack of the captial T). I wish it were as simple as saying IT is evil, but it is not. It is evil and ignorant. And It represents the people in the room that need to work together to make it happen. The problem is the level and degree of listening to each other and the amount of communications that are clear. The thought of collaborating with others can cause some people to run from the room. My suggestion, lock the door, because collaboration is exactly what the doctor is ordering in this case. And this type of collaboration is not a technology collaboration. this is a thought and mind collaboration. Get together and talk through ideas, brainstorm and listen to each other. Make sure you have been clear in your message and ensure you are listening and hearing to what is around you. As I say to my development team, stick your head up out of your cube and look around. See what is happening, listen to what is around you and try to understand it. And the biggest suggestion I have is, be patient.

Viral Adoption

“Statistics show that 97 percent of new blogs are abandoned after the first entry."

Viral Adoption Over the past year, I assumed a new position as the Enterprise 2.0 technology program manager at my company. Initially my team was made up of 2 people and has steadily grown to a team of 13 developers and technology engineers. In addition, while my team has been growing, I have been working with several other IT groups and business users to help advocate the use of the Enterprise 2.0 agenda. The model I have taken my Enterprise 2.0 agenda is a distributed model, allowing my central team to advocate, market and advertise the abilities and the use of Enterprise 2.0 capabilities while letting each individual group to do their own advertising, marketing and advocating. We like to call this federal and state advertising.

Since October of last year, I have had the pleasure to work with one team at the state level that has put my federal level advertising to shame. Of course they have had the pleasure of being able to focus their advertising on a smaller group of employees and they have been able to advertise on only one specific technology, but it still makes me envy their ability to be innovative in their advertising. As I have worked with them over the past couple of months, I have not just envied their advertising abilities, but in as many situations as possible I have learned from them and reused their tactics for my own purposes. Needless to say, this other team has been been extremely successful with their advertising and has garnered them great adoption from their targeted audience.

This team's target audience for their collaboration sites was a set of sites for the IT division (over 3500 people).  This team decided that their first step would be to to roll out a subset of their final vision, communities of practice.  Their hope with rolling the communities of practice out to the IT Subdivision was to break down some of the silos that occur between the IT Subdivisions.  Their goal was to get the various development teams collaborating on how to improve the IT Process for building applications.  As proof of their ability to obtain adoption, they have stats that show the growth of their communities of practice from 13 communities to a total of 139 in a 6 month period of time.  On the home page they have 1800 unique visitors each month and they had found that the IT wide wiki has grown in just 6 months to over 3500 pages.

What methods did they use to garner so much adoption in a short period of time?  They used several methods including chalk writing in front of buildings to advertise the release of their new site. They also did the traditional advertising such as using our corporate intranet to advertise their sites. Beyond these in your face advertising, they also enlisted a group of people to help with viral adoption.   They identified ambassadors and advocates.   The ambassadors and advocates are not management, but instead are the employees at the ground level.  The ambassadors and advocates are people that believe in the communities and talk up their individual community and promote the ideals of the communities.  These people are people that are so excited that they push their peers to use the sites.  Often these groups will peter out after the initial push, but they have been able to get the ambassadors and advocates to not let up.

One method has been to identify a group of admins and created a community just for them. The admins meet weekly and while the owners of the IT site, the admins have taken over the weekly meeting and have started teaching each other how to improve their own sites. While they went after the grass roots groups, they also did a push at the management level.  They presented over and over to many management groups, keeping the awareness of the communities.

The risk is that as time goes on that people will lose their excitement for the new communities - so what are they doing to keep the pressure up, to ensure that the communities are active and healthy?  Check back for my next post to read about what they are doing.

etwo : Adoption Easy Peasy

People are making 500 billion influence impressions on one another about products and services every year. - Source: Forester Research Inc.
This is my first of several items on adoption and approaches of garnering adoption.

Adoption in the world of Enterprise 2.0 is probably the hardest part of Enterprise 2.0. The creation of the technology is easy peasy (as my son likes to say). the implementation of the technology is easy peasy lemon squeezy. But building something with the hope that someone is going to use it is not easy peasy.

Web 2.0 adoption is not that different than the Enterprise 2.0 adoption. You need to get out and do advertising and marketing. You need to get the grass roots movement going, trying to get people to advertise by mouth for you. You need to make things interesting and worthwhile for people to join and participate. but the hardest thing for companies and Enterprise 2.0 is to find the enough people to help with the grass roots movement and to obtain the "free" advertising that they provide. The numbers you have within an enterprise is not as large as many web 2.0 sites garner and have.

While you have the option to do a top down push to use the Enterprise 2.0 technology you are implementing, you have to be very careful with this approach. My feelings are that this could be perceived as heavy handed and pushed from senior management. This type of push can cause the type of reaction you would get from your teenage kids when asking them to do something for you.

My recommendation is to help start a grass roots movement and see how things take off. If after a period of time (6 months - 12 months), the movement has not been successful, reassess the approach. Determine why the movement was not successful and if necessary ask senior management to become involved.

Check back again as I add additional thoughts on adoption.